Climate Change and Mental Health: Could It Lead to More Suicides?

Rising suicide rates are linked to rising temperatures, according to a new study. 

Updated30 Jul 2018, 09:25 AM IST
Health News
1 min read

A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change sheds light on how mental health is impacted by soaring temperatures. Researchers say suicide rates rise with rising temperatures, compared to when temperatures are in the normal range.

They suggest that suicide rates in the United States and Mexico could rise with each 1-degree Celsius increase in a month's average temperature, according to this report by CNN.

Using comprehensive data from multiple decades for both the United States and Mexico, the researchers found that suicide rates rise 0.7% in US counties and 2.1% in Mexican municipalities for a 1 °C increase in monthly average temperature.

They estimate that, by 2050, climate change could be linked to a total of 14,020 excess suicides in the US and 7,460 excess suicides in Mexico.

So far climate change has been linked to the rise of vector-borne diseases and lifestyle diseases like cardiac arrest, due to the stress caused on the individual bodies by changing climatic conditions, changes in disease ecology and changes in socio- economic conditions.

Researchers clarify that this in no way means climate change is the only reason for rising suicides, but it can be a contributing factor. But their findings are fairly linear. Suicides rose when temperatures rose and dropped when the temperatures cooled.

In India, suicide is the leading cause of death in teenagers and young adults and our suicide rates are the highest in the world. While this specific study focuses on Mexico and the United States, it will be interesting to see how it reads in a place like India.

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Published: 30 Jul 2018, 04:58 AM IST

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